Merewether duo and local favourites Morgan Cibilic and Ryan Callinan continued their epic run of form in the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona, both booking a berth in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
Ironically, the pair – and good mates – will now battle each other for a spot in the semis at their home break.
For World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) rookie Cibilic, he’s already guaranteed his best CT result.
However, Callinan has the opportunity to claim his maiden CT victory in front of a hometown crowd.
He booked his spot in the quarter-final at the expense of title hopeful Owen Wright (AUS), while Cibilic took down compatriot Wade Carmichael in today’s (9 April) action.
“It feels a bit overwhelming,” Callinan said.
“With all of my friends and family down here on the beach, every heat win [feels like] you’re winning the final, which is exciting.
“But, I’m just trying to have fun while keeping it contained.
“Owen is one of my favourite surfers, so to have a heat with him is nerve-racking but a challenge that excites me.
“He’s definitely one of my heroes.
“It’s going to be cool coming up against Morgan, however I can already feel the nerves.
“I just can’t wait to see the local community down here cheering for us and at least whoever wins will be one step closer to taking out the event, which would be so cool for Merewether.”
Meanwhile, reigning WSL champion Italo Ferreira showed why is considered one of the world’s most exciting surfers as he took to the air over the heaving Merewether shorebreak.
The Brazilian posted an impressive 16.93 two-wave total (out of a possible 20), dispatching Californian Griffin Colapinto.
He also performed a number of huge full-rotation air reverses much to the delight of the crowds who lined the beach.
“That was a good heat,” Ferreira said.
“Griffin (Colapinto) started well so I knew I needed to put up a high score and I did.
“I love a challenge like that.
“It makes things more exciting.
“I’ve been surfing on an epoxy board which has been working well for me.
“I find I can get much better speed in these waves on a board like this so I’m happy with it.”
Joining Ferreira in the quarter-finals will be fellow WSL champions Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Adriano de Souza (BRA).
They’ll go head-to-head in the first heat.
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s quarter-final results:
- HEAT 1: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 13.90 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.40
- HEAT 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.70 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.90
- HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.33 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.10
- HEAT 4: Caroline Marks (USA) 16.26 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.97
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s semi-final match-ups:
- HEAT 1: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
- HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Men’s round of 16 results:
- HEAT 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.93 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.33
HEAT 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.40 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 7.10
- HEAT 3: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 16.00 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.33
- HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.87 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07
- HEAT 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.93 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.83
- HEAT 6: Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.93 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.80
- HEAT 7: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.73 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.34
- HEAT 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.07 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 9.14
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Men’s quarter-final match-ups:
- HEAT 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
- HEAT 2: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
- HEAT 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
- HEAT 4: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)